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MPI argues competitive lines of business not subject to public disclosure


April 29, 2010   by Canadian Underwriter


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Manitoba’s Public Utilities Board (PUB) has gone to the province’s appeal court to get Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) to disclose financial information that would ensure Autopac rates are set fairly.
The fact the PUB went to court became a topic of debate in the Manitoba legislature on Apr. 27.
“The Public Utilities Board has been concerned for five years now about the secrecy and lack of transparency at Manitoba Public Insurance,” Mavis Taillieu, the Member of the Legislative Assembly representing Morris, Manitoba, said in the legislature.
“The PUB argues that in order to assure themselves that Autopac rates are set fairly, they need to know the financial situation at MPI.”
On April 16, the PUB asked Manitoba’s Court of Appeal to rule on whether MPI can be forced to disclose financial data regarding MPI-sold insurance products that directly compete with private insurance offerings.
MPI is arguing in favour of a more limited form of disclosure, focusing strictly on data related to the basic auto insurance package.
Andrew Swan, the minister in charge of MPI, agreed its basic auto insurance activities should be made public. But its ‘extension insurance’ is optional, he said, and therefore there should not be an obligation to make its financial details public.
MPI “carries on basic auto insurance, which is not competitive; they have a monopoly in Manitoba,” Swan told the legislature. “MPI agrees entirely that it should be subject to whatever information the Public Utilities Board may require.
“MPI also carries on competitive lines of insurance, extension insurance, as it’s called and they are competing against other companies, who, I’m sure, would love to see the kind of information that those [private] companies don’t actually have to put on the record.”